“Do not confuse solitude with loneliness. One builds the Other destroys.”– Anonymous
It may seem like a scary idea. The notion that you might never really be understood for who you truly are, and when one side of you is seen, many facets remain unseen. That’s what life is actually like for most of us. Perhaps there are unicorn cases, where two people know each other completely but those are quite rare. It is hard enough to know oneself, so it seems to me, that it is unreasonable to expect others to truly get us for who we are at our core. This may seem like a sad state of affairs, yet in knowing this, you have three major options:
- Wallow in self-pity and the loneliness of existence.
- Continue unreasonably expecting others to offer more than they can.
- Use this knowledge to become your own best friend and saviour.
I don’t know about you but I opted for the last option. Having tried the first two, the third is undeniably the best one. Spending a lifetime pursuing understanding and emotional fulfilment from others, in my opinion, rarely leads anywhere but to disappointment. We should turn our focus inwards. So why don’t we? I think it’s because it’s hard. It’s so much easier to just throw the burden on someone else. Let them figure us out like a Rubik’s Cube, while also handling us with care. This sets us up for a lifetime of dissatisfaction. The task is so monumental that it can only be handled by the subject in question. You can follow a hundred gurus in a hundred lifetimes all you want, yet in the end, it is you that must go through the journey and do all the work.
This book is all about the self. I wrote it to disabuse you of the notion of a saviour. You must save yourself. You must become brave enough to at least try getting yourself out of your unique predicament. Make no mistake, I am not implying that you should refuse any assistance if it is offered. I am saying, however, that you should not go about life expecting to be saved from your woes or troubles. You are the central character of your story and you must be the principal motive force. To sit on your laurels and wait for all your ills and issues to be solved for you, puts you in the passenger seat of your own life. The sooner you realise that the onus is on you to be your best friend, ally and saviour, the better.
It won’t happen overnight, this process involves a great deal of work. Spending time with yourself, searching for the hidden reasons behind your actions, looking inward even at the ugliest sides of your being. This is not the work of a day. It is work, if you choose to go this route, that may take a lifetime. It is work that you will have to commit to doing every day. It is only when you truly understand yourself that you will be able to understand others to any significant extent, and in going that deep, you will bring forth your true self thus others may see who you truly are too, within their own limits.
You will gradually improve your own existence, you’ll be able to mine the inexhaustible resources you contain and cultivate yourself with this understanding. You must see yourself as the project of your life. Everything else starts here; your professional life, being a good partner, friend or parent starts with self-knowledge and betterment. It may seem narcissistic on the surface but that’s the topic of the next chapter. So we’ll try to assuage any misgivings you may have about caring for yourself.
Grow comfortable being alone, not only in the sense of being the only one in the room but also being separate from all else. Realise that you are an entity all on your own, in a sense. You are an entity onto yourself. A universe among universes. Your wellbeing depends on your ability to sustain yourself by your own means. This translates to becoming more comfortable with your thoughts and managing your internal life, exploring yourself and your place and role within the larger universe, cultivating a love for yourself, and working to cultivate the highest self you can attain within your lifetime.
It is the great quest we’ve embarked on. To be alone should not be rebuked, vilified or feared. It is the primordial state of all things. From the centre of your being if you are healthy and well-adjusted, as you grow and expand your sense of self, to include family, friends, and community, you will find yourself to be a force for good in all those spheres rather than a toxic influence, and you’ll reach your full contributive potential. Many of us find ourselves in relationships at points where we’ve lost our centre, or perhaps we had never found it, and the other party in the relationship suffers for it. The same is true in cases where we’ve adjusted ourselves and are increasing our awareness, the people in our lives are ever more joyful for it. We are in a position to inspire them to do the same for themselves. Being in a good state of mind, body and spirit have a way of permeating every aspect of our lives. But that level of adjustment can’t be achieved outside oneself. We have to go inward and do so repeatedly, becoming the student and teacher. We must be able to debate ideas we hold internally to find the path that suits our souls.
There is no perfect system and I won’t offer you one here. I aim to explore the idea that you are your own saviour and by the end of the book, I want you to walk away seeing and believing that.
The most transformative experiences of your life, the most beautiful moments spent with loved ones, all these experiences are generated within you. Does that not warrant, taking some time to adjust your perceptions and character, so you may see much more clearly and let your internal light shine forth?
It was always you, you were always the interpreter and the definer. You could gather 10 of your best friends in a room and watch the same movie. They would all walk away having experienced something unique. Some things will be similar, but your experiences will never be entirely the same. The connections your minds will make, the emotions you will feel, and the lessons you will take away will always contain many unique points.
This is the case for almost everything. You are a unique genetic expression, a unique mind, a unique being within a whole. Never in the universe has there been someone exactly like you nor will there ever be. We are like tiny worlds communing with other tiny worlds within a larger one, while our natures may be similar, our make-up is unique, and so too, are our journeys. Learn to cherish this, and don’t see self-love as wrong or narcissistic, in a way without it, you can’t truly love anyone else.
For those who equate being alone with sadness. Cease seeing yourself as this sad purposeless person, roaming the cosmos. Cease confusing being alone with being lonely. Learn to enjoy your own company, explore your being and cultivate it in whichever direction you see fit. Take time by yourself, to enjoy your own company. See if it does not feel far better than what came before.
This will perhaps sound even more radical but there is something divine about the state of being alone. You are a sort of god, perhaps not physically infallible, yet you have a measure of willpower and a portion of universal intelligence at your disposal. Asserting your presence by expressing your true self, not a copy or imitation of another is the greatest display of gratefulness in having been given life, and it is a beautiful thing to behold when it does occur. That would be staking your claim to existence. Freeing yourself and accepting your birthright to free will in choosing your purpose. The idea that a purpose will fall into one’s lap has always sounded ludicrous to me. It is just another way that we wait for the external world to trick us into accepting something we already wanted internally. If that’s how you want to play things, that’s OK too. But just be aware that the interpretation of outside events is all internally generated. We see who we are and what we believe in the external world and its entities. This will forever put a shroud over anything outside yourself, even your loved ones, as you see them through subjective lenses. A barrier between you and anything you observe that isn’t you and vice versa.
You are only lonely when you are not enough. Thus realising that you are alone and enough will bring you great strength and peace. When we allow ourselves to feel this reality and embrace it, there is a strange paradox that occurs, we reach an inner quiet, and realise that we are all singularly alone in life, but as a consequence, this realisation creates an even deeper relationship among us and to the world, once we enlarge our sense of self to contain multitudes, if not infinity. However, you must never lose your centre in such an expansion of your mode of being, lest you lose yourself.
This post is a repurposed excerpt from my book No One Will Save You, order here.